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NVIDIA AIC Partners Clarify RTX 3080/3090 Crash to Desktop Issues, Capacitor Choices

(UPDATE 28SEPT 16H31 GMT: Updated the MSI section with changes in the RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio store page).

Compounding the limited availability with the crash to desktop issues users have been experiencing with NVIDIA's recent RTX 3080/3090 graphics cards have led to rivers of digital ink being run on NVIDIA's latest RTX-30 series. After we've reported on NVIDIA's PG132 "Base Design" and manufacturer-specific capacitor choices and circuitry, we've now seen many of NVIDIA's AIC partners actually respond to this issue, clarifying their choices in this specific part of RTX 30-series board design, as well as the steps they've taken (if any) so as to help solve the issues (which are thus confirmed as being somewhat related to these capacitor choices, even if they are not the root cause.)

RTX 3080 Crash to Desktop Problems Likely Connected to AIB-Designed Capacitor Choice

Igor's Lab has posted an interesting investigative article where he advances a possible reason for the recent crash to desktop problems for RTX 3080 owners. For one, Igor mentions how the launch timings were much tighter than usual, with NVIDIA AIB partners having much less time than would be adequate to prepare and thoroughly test their designs. One of the reasons this apparently happened was that NVIDIA released the compatible driver stack much later than usual for AIB partners; this meant that their actual testing and QA for produced RTX 3080 graphics cards was mostly limited to power on and voltage stability testing, other than actual gaming/graphics workload testing, which might have allowed for some less-than-stellar chip samples to be employed on some of the companies' OC products (which, with higher operating frequencies and consequent broadband frequency mixtures, hit the apparent 2 GHz frequency wall that produces the crash to desktop).

Another reason for this, according to Igor, is the actual "reference board" PG132 design, which is used as a reference, "Base Design" for partners to architecture their custom cards around. The thing here is that apparently NVIDIA's BOM left open choices in terms of power cleanup and regulation in the mounted capacitors. The Base Design features six mandatory capacitors for filtering high frequencies on the voltage rails (NVVDD and MSVDD). There are a number of choices for capacitors to be installed here, with varying levels of capability. POSCAPs (Conductive Polymer Tantalum Solid Capacitors) are generally worse than SP-CAPs (Conductive Polymer-Aluminium-Electrolytic-Capacitors) which are superseded in quality by MLCCs (Multilayer Ceramic Chip Capacitor, which have to be deployed in groups). Below is the circuitry arrangement employed below the BGA array where NVIDIA's GA-102 chip is seated, which corresponds to the central area on the back of the PCB.
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